Commentary

August 1, 2014

Back to school a special time for families

Col. Jon Braga
Commander Fort Irwin USAG

Back to school is Aug. 7 and for the children and parents of this post, it will be a time to enjoy one of life’s special moments.

Our children will not be in kindergarten or second grade again. It will happen only once. That is one of the reasons leadership of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin has been very supportive of back-to-school day. On that morning, you will see countless Soldiers and family members accompanying their children to our awesome schools on post. You will see parents and children walking together; you will see some children bicycling alongside their parents; many will be hopping out of mom or dad’s car at the curbside, and others will be arriving by bus.

The first day of school is cool around here. Principals, teachers and other faculty staff will be greeting familiar faces and reassuring their newest students. This support creates a very welcoming feeling. The energy and excitement of going back to school is unmistakable in kids and parents; it’s another journey in a child’s life and parents get to experience seeing their children progress to the next grade level.

For all the new families here, you might be pleasantly surprised about how great our schools are performing. The schools are within the Silver Valley Unified School District, which is one of the highest scoring districts in the state. The district is extremely supportive of this community. I interact with the school board and have gotten to know them well; it is an organization comprised of some great Americans who care deeply about educating our young children.

A lot of preparation has gone into making this next school year another great one. Teachers have been working all summer on lesson plans, new teaching techniques and the different events that occur throughout the year. Each school implements Positive Behavior Interventions and Support (PBIS), which fosters a positive learning environment. The children have also done their part by creating an anti-bullying campaign called “We Can 365.” The campaign is really about a mindset, a mindset that promotes that message, “Be a buddy, not a bully.”

Making our schools the best they can be and creating an environment conducive to learning is about taking care of families in order to be Army Strong. It falls in line with my favorite saying by the Army Chief of Staff: “The strength of the nation is our Army; the strength of the Army is our Soldiers; the strength of our Soldiers is our families.” We take it seriously the business of taking care of the family in all facets as humanly possible here, and making it a positive experience for anyone stationed at Fort Irwin.

Make the first day of school a positive experience for your family. Take advantage of those life moments. For those of us who have been in the Army the last 10-15 years, we’ve missed a lot of those life moments; don’t miss any more.




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